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Advances in Preventive Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 149737, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/149737
Review Article

The Need for Continued Development of Ricin Countermeasures

1Division of Clinical Medicine, Clinical Research Management Inc., Team Ke’aki Tech, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1425 Porter Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5011, USA
2Division of Toxinology, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1425 Porter Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5011, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 10 January 2012

Academic Editor: Phillip R. Pittman

Copyright © 2012 Ronald B. Reisler and Leonard A. Smith. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Ricin toxin, an extremely potent and heat-stable toxin produced from the bean of the ubiquitous Ricinus communis (castor bean plant), has been categorized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a category B biothreat agent that is moderately easy to disseminate. Ricin has the potential to be used as an agent of biological warfare and bioterrorism. Therefore, there is a critical need for continued development of ricin countermeasures. A safe and effective prophylactic vaccine against ricin that was FDA approved for “at risk” individuals would be an important first step in assuring the availability of medical countermeasures against ricin.